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NY replaces GED with a harder test

Posted 24 March 2014 at 12:00 am

Press release, Orleans-Niagara BOCES

New York State has selected a new high school equivalency test called Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) to replace the General Education Development (GED) as the primary pathway to a New York State High School Equivalency Diploma, effective Jan. 2, 2014.

The TASC will be aligned to the Common Core Standards over the next three years, increasing in difficulty each year.

“The TASC is very different from the GED exam that we have given since 2002,” said Susan Diemert, adult literacy coordinator for Orleans-Niagara BOCES. “It measures examinees’ levels of achievement relative to that of graduating high school seniors, and readiness for college and the workforce.”

The test was developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill and is now available on paper or online.  The TASC is composed of five sections including math, reading, writing, science, and social studies.

“The GED exam was primarily a reading comprehension test – if the student had good reading and math skills, then he/she could probably pass the exam. The TASC now requires the individual to have knowledge of basic social studies and science content and advanced math skills,” Diemert said. “Adult students will now have to learn facts about government, historical documents, American history, and World history for social studies.  The science section will require the student to have prior knowledge in the areas of biology, chemistry, and earth science.”

All five sections are different and will become increasingly more difficult through 2016.

Orleans-Niagara BOCES Adult Literacy program is one of 13 districts throughout the state to give the TASC online. We are the only district that has multiple sites, four in total throughout Niagara and Orleans counties.

“Students can take the exam online in one of our computer labs or on paper at scheduled times,” said Jessica Bush, chief examiner for the TASC.  “Due to the more difficult nature of the test, we recommend that individuals take a Readiness Practice Test. The Readiness Practice Test is half the length of the actual test and determines the student’s ability to pass it.”

Orleans-Niagara BOCES  is offering preparation classes at 14 different locations including Niagara Falls, Lockport, North Tonawanda, Sanborn, Albion, and Medina. A student may start class at any time. Morning, afternoon, and evening classes are available. Classes are free to any Niagara or Orleans resident.

“We do not recommend that anyone take the TASC without proper preparation,” added Diemert.  “We have TASC preparation classes throughout Niagara and Orleans counties that specifically teach the skills needed to pass the test.”

Anyone who took the GED exam and failed any section of it prior to Jan. 1 can carry over the passing scores for two years and re-take failed areas. GED scores will expire on Dec. 31, 2015. The student can combine the passing GED scores with the new TASC scores to obtain a high school equivalency diploma.

To obtain further information on anything related to high school equivalency or for a schedule of Readiness Practice Test sessions, please call Susan Diemert at Orleans-Niagara BOCES, 1-800-836-7510 or 731-4176 ext. 3003.